Seventeen Cruise Ship Passengers Killed in Tunis Terrorist Attack – Update 2

MSC Splendida file photo. Creative Commons
MSC Splendida file photo. Creative Commons

Update 2: Costa Cruises has confirmed that five of its guests were also among those killed in yesterday’s terrorist attack in Tunis, Tunisia, bringing the total number of cruise passengers killed in the attack to 17.

According to a statement from Costa Cruises:

“With great sadness we regret to report that 5 guests (4 Italians and 1 Russian) of the Costa Fascinosa are amongst the victims of the horrific attack yesterday in Tunis, and 8 guests (7 Italians and 1 Russian) are injured and currently hospitalized. What happened yesterday in Tunis represents an attack to the values of friendship between cultures in which we have always believed. Our deepest sympathy and our condolences go to the victims and their families. We share their sorrow.”

Update 1: MSC Cruises has confirmed that a total of twelve of its guests were killed in Wednesday’s terrorist attack at the Bardo National Museum in Tunis. Those killed included 2 Colombians, 3 French, 3 Japanese, 2 Spanish, 1 British and 1 Belgian, the cruise line reported. Thirteen of its guests were also injured, including 1 Belgian, 7 French, 4 Japanese and 1 South African. Two of those injured are considered in serious conditions.

Two guests who remained missing were found hiding in the museum and are in good condition.

A total of 20 people died in the attack, the cruise line reported based on information from the Tunisian Minister of Tourism.

MSC Cruises says it decided to suspend all remaining Tunisian calls through summer 2015.

MSC Cruises Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said: “Sadly, the murderous actions of the people behind this devastating attack will have far-reaching and profoundly damaging effects on democratic Tunisia and its faltering economy. Tunisia can little afford to be considered a no-go zone at this time, but regrettably that is how tourists will now see it.”

The suspension will effect four of MSC Cruises’ 12 ships. MSC Cruises says that the MSC Splendida will call at Valletta, in Malta; MSC Fantasia will call at Palma de Mallorca, Mallorca; MSC Preziosa will call at Cagliari, in Sardinia; and MSC Divina will call at Valletta a day earlier and head directly to Corfu, Greece

Earlier: MSC Cruises has confirmed that at least nine of its passengers are believed to be among the 21 people killed in a terrorist attack at a museum in Tunis, Tunisia on Wednesday.

The attack occurred Wednesday at the Bardo National Museum, Tunisia’s largest museum. Two gunmen were killed by security forces and four others have been arrested, according to reports.

In a stream of updates on its website, MSC Cruises commented: “Based on the communication made by official authorities, MSC Cruises, its ownership and entire management team report with profound sadness that at the time of this announcement nine of its guests are reported to have lost their lives, 12 were injured, and six (two Spanish nationals, one Belgian, one British, one French and one Japanese) are still unaccounted for in conjunction with the tragic event at the Bardo Museum. However, these numbers are still subject to modification whilst official identification is on-going.”

At the time of the shootings, some of the guests onboard the MSC Splendida were on shore excursions, including to the Bardo National Museum, as the ship was calling at the port of La Goulette, Tunis with 3,714 guests and 1,267 crew members aboard. The ship arrived March 18 for its weekly call performed during the season from December 17, 2014 to April 15, 2015, MSC Cruises said.

The Costa cruise ship, Costa Fascinosa, was also in port at Tunis at the time of the attack. Costa Cruises says it has suspended all calls at Tunis going forward.

The MSC Splendida has since departed the port of La Goulete, Tunis as of 6 a.m. Thursday.

“MSC Splendida received the authorization from the relevant authorities to leave the port of La Goulette and is heading, as originally scheduled, to Barcelona where it is currently expected to arrive at 9AM on Friday, March 20, MSC Cruises said.

The company added:

“MSC Cruises is present on site with its crises team in order to continue to provide key assistance on the ground to MSC Splendida’s guests who were involved in the tragic events and needing assistance.

MSC Cruises Executive Chairman, Pierfrancesco Vago, will be arriving in Tunis in the coming hours in order to make a close assessment of the situation, meet in person as well as arrange to provide assistance to those affected by these tragic events and their relatives and consult with local authorities.”